Experimental studies in humans designed to test the impact of pork consumption on glucose homeostasis and other elements of the cardiometabolic risk factor profile are limited. Previous research on pork intake and type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and related components concluded that, compared to other commonly consumed protein sources including chicken, beef and shrimp, pork consumption did not alter markers of carbohydrate metabolism.  Furthermore, results from the OmniHeart study, which compared three diets that emphasized carbohydrates, protein, or unsaturated fatty acids, indicate that a diet rich in protein from mixed sources reduces appetite compared to carbohydrate-rich or unsaturated fatty acid-rich diets (1). Previous studies completed by our group have also shown that replacing refined carbohydrates with lean protein reduces hunger, increases satiety, and reduces glucose and insulin excursions after a breakfast meal (2).  However, whether the replacement of refined dietary carbohydrate (e.g., sugars and refined starches) with lean pork foods, a rich source of high-quality protein, at the breakfast meal will improve parameters appetite control and carbohydrate metabolism is not known. Thus, this research was conducted to provide a next step in evaluating the relationship between increased pork intake, appetite control, and glucose metabolism in subjects with pre-diabetes and thus at increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. 

The primary objectives of this study were to assess the effects of consumption of a lean pork-containing, high protein breakfast versus a refined carbohydrate-rich breakfast for 2 weeks on satiety and metabolic factors in overweight or obese adults with pre-diabetes.  Twenty-one adults completed the study, which involved consuming either the lean-pork containing breakfast or refined carbohydrate-containing breakfast daily for 2 weeks.  The satiety effect of consuming the breakfasts and carbohydrate and lipid metabolism outcomes were determined at the end of each 2-week intervention.

The results show that intake of a lean-pork containing breakfast may have a favorable effect on some aspects of appetite, including less hunger and less desire to eat over the following 4 hours, but this effect does not appear to be robust enough to impact food intake at the following lunch meal, compared to a refined carbohydrate-containing breakfast.  Results also suggest that eating a lean-pork breakfast meal may have a favorable affect on circulating glucose and insulin levels for the following 4 hours and circulating triglyceride levels for the following 2 hours, however, most other areas of carbohydrate or lipid metabolism were not impacted by breakfast meal type.  Since this was a short-term study, further research on the long-term effect of consuming lean pork as a breakfast meal is warranted.